The United States is no longer just a one state, one whiskey nation.

Discover classic Kentucky-distilled superstars alongside up-and-comers from all corners of the US made in a tasty array of whiskey styles. Traditional Kentucky bourbons, a Calvados finished Maryland rye and a Tennessee-made smoky single malt are a few American whiskies guaranteed by the Barleycorn Society to kick-butt.

Four Roses Small Batch

Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
90 proof (45% ABV), 30

“This is delicious!” Four Roses is famous for its variety of flavors by utilizing 10 individual Bourbon recipes from five different mash bills and two yeast strains. This 6-7-year-old “show-stopping” Small Batch expression is composed of recipes 2/3/7/8, which are engineered toward big fruit and baking spice with a supporting cast of vanilla. The result is a “gorgeous, plush, and balanced” Kentucky bourbon that’s “rich, flavorful, and backed up with a well-built structure.”

Sagamore Spirit Calvados Finish

Baltimore, Maryland
100 Proof (50% ABV); $70

Sagamore Spirit has fashioned their whiskey to adhere to Maryland’s “Monongahela rye,” a style from days of yore known for its sweeter profile than the spicier ryes than those from other mid-Atlantic states like New York or Pennsylvania. This “next level” expression was finished in calvados casks, imparting “intense spice, dark honey, and red berry fruit aromas.” On the palate, expect a “butterscotch richness” that “coats the palate with sweet oak” and a “lingering, warming finish.”

Corsair Triple Smoke American Single Malt

Nashville, Tennessee
Proof: 80 (40% ABV); $50

Corsair’s Andrew Webber and Darek Bell have been obsessively experimenting with non-traditional wood smoke variants in their whiskey since launching in 2011. The result is this “surprisingly bright” Triple Smoke, a single malt whose flavors are carefully balanced with a combination of Wisconsin cherrywood, German beechwood, and a hint of traditional Scottish peat. “Surprisingly restrained aromas of smoke” mingle with a “berry and lemon rind aroma on the nose.” A “dovetail of caramel and smoke” come together on the palate to create a “purity and complexity like Lapsang Souchong tea,” and finishes long with “vanilla and soda bread.”

Larceny Small Batch Bourbon

Bardstown, Kentucky
90 proof (45% ABV); $28

Launched in 2012, Heaven Hill’s Larceny is what you might call a “high wheat bourbon” since its recipe contains more of the grain than comparable whiskeys such as Maker’s Mark, Weller, or Pappy Van Winkle. This “soft but assertive” bourbon impressed John Barleycorn judges with its “honey and pipe tobacco” nose and a “sweet plum and honey palate” that’s capped by a “lingering finish” with “delicate oak” and a “distinct espresso note.”

Dime Box Distillery’s Sixth Street Rye

Austin, Texas
90 Proof (45% ABV), $70

“Rich, sweet, peppery, this is a great whiskey.” Dime Box Distillery’s Sixth Street Single Barrel Rye is aged at least 5-years and bottled from individual barrels instead of batches. The “delicate” flavors are a “balance of rye, orange zest, and sticky toffee pudding” with “bursts of sweetness and baking spice.” At the end of the day, “it’s all about that finish,” which trails out “warmly with sweet cream and a hint of rye.”

Spirits writers, marketers and designers are among the most influential forces in the spirits industry. Their opinions, ideas and creative talents inform and influence consumer perceptions and buying decisions. The John Barleycorn Society was started by a group of spirits journalists seeking to honor excellence in all facets of the industry. The journalists spent several years creating a comprehensive competition that became the John Barleycorn Awards. An elite team of authoritative and influential spirits journalists was selected to administer the flagship component of the Awards, a blind tasting competition destined to become the preeminent arbitrator of spirits taste, quality and character.